My Neighbour

A fictional story By Lilian

Two years ago, I was a newly converted Christian and was yet to fall in love with the Christian race. Christians did bad things then, some still do. I was even still wondering why I was becoming one of them. Starting with my aunts, if being Christ-like could be measured on a scale of 1-10, they would have negatives. They were the SI unit of badness. True story. Even those who didn’t know God, called them the terrorist twins. Terrorists in the order of Boko Haram and Al-Shabab. Funny thing is, they were in the forefront of all church activities, pretending to be holy and all. That I would have to share eternity with those two, hesitated my getting born again by two months.

So anyway six months later, I was called to an interview in Nakuru. I had passed through Nakuru severally, but had never quite known the place or settled there. I don’t know how con men and thieves seem to sense newcomers but they do, because as soon as I alighted at the stage and as I was about to cross the road, two well-dressed men walked up to me. Before I knew what was going on, I had been hit and my handbag had been snatched away. It was so fast, I never actually got to know what happened. I lost consciousness for a minute or so, and when I came to, I was bleeding profusely. I wanted to scream but I was in shock. People walked past me like nothing had happened. In fact some looked at me with suspicion. Five minutes later a car stopped next to me. A man in a suit got out and walked up to me. By then I was crying and bleeding, what a sight I must have been. “Sorry, you must be new. People get mugged a lot in this street.” He said gently as he helped me get up. He slowly walked me to his car, opened the door and carefully assisted me to get in. I was in shock and too much pain to panic that I was with a stranger in his car, in a strange town. My black suit was bloodied and full of dust so were my hands. I couldn’t stop crying. He drove out of town and before I knew it we were at the Hospital. He again helped me out and walked me to the emergency area.

Apart from one or two scratches and a swollen nose, I wasn’t badly off. After being dressed and given painkillers I was ready to leave. My rescuer paid the hospital bill and led me to his car. The front seat had streaks of dry blood and dust. “You can sit at the back.” And I did. He talked with ease and kindness, I was immediately set aback. I honestly didn’t know good people still lived on earth. “My name is Paul, I work at the Bank and now I am taking you to the police station to get an abstract, ok? I nodded my head. I hadn’t spoken to him a word since he had picked me up. I was still wary. Ten minutes later we were at the police station. He offered to walk me in, but I refused.

Twenty minutes later I was done. I was half expecting him to have driven off, but there he was sitting in his car. His calmness and patience almost unnerved me. He stepped out and said. “You don’t look like you trust me, so we’ll go to my office. I’ll get a colleague, then we can get you new clothes.” I looked down at myself. I was a mess. My white shirt and black suit had been ripped and had streaks of blood, and dust. I nodded. We packed outside the Bank and three minutes later he came with a lady. I was abit relieved. Having another lady in the vehicle felt better. She was talkative, friendly and very sympathetic when Paul narrated to her his version of the story, which was mostly accurate anyway. I just realised then that I had not even said much to him. He drove us to a supermarket , handed the lady some cash and told her to assist me find some clothes. As we went to the clothes section I asked her about Paul. My head was reeling at his kindness. I just couldn’t understand how someone could go out of their way to help another person, unless they wanted something in return.

“Paul? He is my boss actually. He is a very good man. He says it is because of his faith.”

Hmmm. I tried to guess his faith. A Buddhist perhaps, or Hindu. To me, I imagined it had to be a weird religion or faith, one which I hadn’t encountered. He took me and his secretary out for lunch. And as they talked, I was somewhat drawn to that man. And it wasn’t because of anything physical. It was beyond that. I observed how he spoke to his secretary, to the waiters, and even to me. Like everyone was his friend. Back at his office, it was the same. As he led me to his office everyone genuinely smiled and laughed with him as if glad he had finally arrived at work. The sign on the door to his office read ‘Regional Manager.’

“You are the regional manager!” I asked in surprise.

“Yes, am I too young?”

“You are too good.” At which he laughed. He asked me to sit and made a few phone calls. Some minutes later he informed me that a work related car was leaving for Nairobi and he had organized a place for me. I couldn’t hold it any longer so I asked.

“Why did you do all that for me?”

“Because the Bible says…” I cut him short with,

“The Bible? You are a Christian!”

“Yes, and the Bible says that I should love my neighbour as myself.”

All that trouble for one phrase in the Bible? I hadn’t read much of the Bible then to know that that commandment had been repeated in other forms, but still. It hit me so hard. I looked at the man in whose car I had bled, who had paid my hospital bill, got me clothes, food and was then answering my questions as if it mattered to him.

“But there are many Christians who are not like you.”

“True. I do not judge or compare myself with them. I choose to personally follow the bible and follow the example of Christ.”

“But. But?” I still couldn’t grasp it.

“I am not perfect, but as a christian, I represent Christ on earth and since I realise it is an important role, I strive to represent Him in the character and image that mostly resembles Him.

For the one hour I waited for the vehicle at the manager’s office, everything I knew about being a Christian and being born again was shaken. The Paul of the Bank taught me so much with so few words that day.

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